Taylor Brock is a senior at Gallatin studying social justice and art activism. Her studies focus on oppressive power relations and the ability of art to be a viable tool for consciousness raising, empowerment, and subversion. For the fellowship, Taylor worked with The Laundromat Project, a New York-based nonprofit that works to nurture creativity within its three flagship communities, Harlem, BedStuy, and Hunts Point/Longwood. Through the LP, Taylor was connected with the Kelly Street Community Garden in the Bronx. On Kelly Street she researched how a shared history and the use of arts and culture can foster powerful and resilient communities within an urban environment. Her research culminated in a WordPress site that documents many of her findings and experiences.
Maria Fernanda Cepeda is a Master’s candidate at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. She has a B.A. in Anthropology from the National University of Colombia and five years’ experience working with citizenship culture, social justice, women’s rights, multicultural studies, and community work. Her overall research focuses on domestic work, Latin American migrant women, and the intersections between social sciences, theatre, and politics for social change. As a fellow, Maria worked in Madrid with the grassroots organization SEDOAC around issues of domestic work, migration, and narratives of leadership experienced by Latin American migrant women. Her final project, a web page for SEDOAC was called “Domestic Workers in Spain, A Laboratory Project for Urban Democracy.”
Robert Clinton is a senior at Gallatin with a concentration in urban agriculture and a minor in Sustainable Urban Environments through the Tandon School of Engineering. Throughout his undergraduate career, Robert has sought to enrich his understanding of environmentalism, development, politics, and sociology in municipalities. His project for the Gallatin Global Fellowship in Urban Practice explored the intersections of religion, environmentalism, and national identity as expressed in the sustainability practices of ethnic Germans and Turkish Muslim migrants in Berlin. Robert’s research has been synthesized into a WordPress site that begins to investigate whether the Christian undertones of German environmentalism, an integral component of internal and external conceptions of Germanity, impede outsiders’ participation, thus preventing their full integration into Deutschland.
Erin Johnson earned her Master’s degree in January 2016 from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. At Gallatin, Erin studied urban agriculture and community development with coursework covering urban economic development, community organizing, sustainable food systems, environmental justice, community advocacy and public health. Erin’s thesis research centered on the strategies and programming of urban farms in low-income neighborhoods in New York and their community development efficacy. She also serves as a volunteer coordinator with the Gowanus Canal Conservancy and is an active member of a community garden. As a fellow, Erin spent the summer of 2015 in Madrid working with Paisaje Transversal, a collective of architects that specializes in developing innovative and transformative urban projects.
Sophie Lasoff is a senior at Gallatin studying the intersections of environmental and social justice, specifically through the lens of the climate crisis. She is actively engaged in student organizing, leading her to found the fossil fuel divestment campaign at NYU. As a Global Fellow in Urban Practice, she studied the relationship between community and climate resiliency at UPROSE, a local environmental justice organization in Brooklyn. Through an ethnographic study of their Climate Justice and Community Resiliency Center, she explored how UPROSE is providing a space for genuine, active participatory citizenship, and how the development of “social infrastructure” can be considered a climate adaptation and mitigation measure. Her research has culminated in an interactive video project that illustrates how the Center could be used as a grassroots model for climate resiliency.
Idan Sasson is a senior at Gallatin studying Sustainable Development and minoring in Environmental Studies. His academic interests include political economy, urban development, environmental discourse, and theories of social change. While in Berlin, Idan focused on the development of open green space as an indicator of public urban development priorities. The research was focused on Tempelhof Field, an airport turned public park, which was most recently a space of contestation between urban developers and a widespread public resistance movement. Idan argues that the master plan proposed by the city represents an entrenched neoliberal development agenda. The successful resistance to the city’s master plan manifested itself in a public referendum, demonstrating that a majority of Berliners wished to put an end to top-down development projects. Idan hopes to create a short documentary using footage of the space, interviews, and photos from his time in Berlin.
Henry Topper (GGFUP, 2014)
Henry Topper is a senior in Gallatin studying Urban Studies and Philosophy. He is particularly interested in gentrification, the meaning of authenticity, and New York history. For the Global Fellowship in Urban Practice, Henry worked at an urban garden in Berlin and researched the emergence of “bottom-up” green spaces in the city. For his final project, he will create a digital storytelling narrative about his experience at the garden and its relationship to the burgeoning international population in Berlin.